Steve Hackett, Rob Reed, Nick Beggs + others, “Spectral Mornings” (2015): One Track Mind

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Benefit singles, for all of their good intentions, typically come off as too-careful reiterations — echoes of something that once held great meaning, rather than extensions of that power. Not this one.

Rob Reed and Christina Booth of the Welsh band Magenta offer a striking reimagining of Steve Hackett’s “Spectral Mornings,” with help from Hackett himself, along with Nick Beggs of Steven Wilson’s band, former Spock’s Beard member Nick D’Virgilio and David Longdon of Big Big Train. Released today as a charity song for Parkinson’s Society UK, this update adds a bold new narrative to one of the former Genesis guitarist’s most memorable solo instrumentals.

And, by stirring in new David Longdon-written lyrics to the title track from a 1979 Steve Hackett album, they’ve given us a rare musical — as well as altruistic — reason to listen.

The message, one of hope and community, fits the song’s soaring atmospherics as perfectly as it does their chosen non-profit organization, even as it gives new complexity to Hackett’s original theme. A delicately conveyed duet between Steve Hackett on acoustic and Reed on the flute provides a gorgeous platform for Hackett’s switch to electric and the deeply emotional solo that follows.

This isn’t the first Hackett collaboration for Reed, whose work in Magenta has always had Genesis as a clear influence. His 2013 Kompendium project featured a guest turn by Steve Hackett. Magenta also released Live at Real World in 2010, featuring an acoustic concert held at former Hackett bandmate Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. Nick Beggs was on Kompendium’s Beneath the Waves, too.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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